Teenagers should consider freezing parts of their ovaries to improve their chances of conceiving in their 30s and 40s, according to US doctor
Women are being encouraged by a US doctor to freeze parts of their ovaries while in their late teens or 20s, using a new technique to promote fertility later in life.
It is increasingly common for women to put off having children until their late 30s or 40s despite the natural decrease in egg quality and fertility after the age of 30. A fertility expert in the US has developed a technique that preserves tens of thousands of young, good-quality eggs by freezing slivers of ovaries.
“A woman could freeze her ovary aged 19 and have a 19-year-old ovary aged 40,” explained Dr Sherman Silber.
Although the £4,000 price tag seems a little steep, Dr Sherman hopes the treatment could offer an alternative to repeated expensive IVF cycles. However, treatment has only been undergone by 140 women at Dr Sherman’s clinic and is not available in the UK.
The British Fertility Society has urged caution. Chairman, Tony Rutherford said, “We need to see clear evidence of [the method's] effectiveness and that's what we don't have at the moment.”
Critics have also suggested that women should not be encouraged to put off motherhood with artificial techniques. Susan Seenan from the Infertility Network UK said, “I would have to urge caution. The best time to have children is when a woman is younger.”
Men have also been advised to consider their long term fertility if undergoing cancer treatment. Cancer Research UK has warned that few men whose fertility may be affected are offered the chance to bank their sperm. The charity hopes to raise awareness of the issue and the possibilities available.